US Diplomatic Missions Staff Reduction in Russia Just 'First Retaliatory Step'

The ministry said the United States must reduce its diplomatic staff to 455 people by September 1, saying that is the number of Russian diplomats at embassies and consulates in the United States, and would be unable to use the dacha or the warehouses as of August 1.

1, US staff will also be barred from using a recreational property on the bucolic island of Serebryany Bor, along with being barred from using warehouses on Moscow's Dorozhnaya Street.

On July 14, Moscow warned that it was running out of patience in light of the stalemate that followed the closure of two Russian diplomatic compounds in the United States, and mentioned possible retaliatory measures including the expulsion of diplomats.

Russia reserves the reciprocal right to respond to the latest sanctions bill passed in the US Senate by hitting US interests, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The new United States sanctions on Russian Federation were overwhelmingly approved by both houses of Congress despite objections from the Trump White House.

The proposed bill for sanctions against Russia was passed for the alleged Russian interference in 2016 Presidential Election.

The US ambassador to Russia, John Tefft, was summoned to the foreign ministry on Friday morning to be given the news. Putin, who was on a visit to Finland, said the new sanctions were unreasonable.

In late 2016, the Obama administration slapped a new batch of sanctions on Russia and expelled 35 Russian diplomats on the pretext of Moscow's alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election.

"The United States insistently implements rough anti-Russian sanctions one after another under the absolutely far-fetched pretext of Russian meddling in their internal affairs", the Russian Foreign Ministry stated, adding that such moves violate global law and UN principles.

There are believed to be now around 1,100 USA diplomats and staff in the country.

Vanessa Coleman